RANGER AGAINST WAR: An Untenable Situation <

Friday, February 26, 2016

An Untenable Situation

Americans love to drill holes
in other people's countries
--Syriana (2005)

--Hey Johnny, what are you rebelling against?
--Whadda you got?
--The Wild One (1955)

 --Why do we do this?
--You've gotta do something.
Don't you?  
--Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

In Clausewitzian thought, war is considered an extension of the political process. War is deadly politics.

Here we are in 2016 and this 19th century thinking is still taught in our military schools and guides our geopolitical behavior. But post-Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©), Arab Spring and the lot of it, the dichotomy no longer seems so relevant.

Using Syria as an example: There is no political goal that can be applied to the military endeavor, and vice versa. The military effort will not sustain a politically successful conclusion for any of the players. Politics and military violence are not mutually supportive, nor is one an extension of the other.

For the United States there is no political solution that will be won by force of arms. There is also no military treatment that will effect a political decision. If we accept this, then the solution to the Syrian Civil War is outside of the rules of war and of politics.

If the U.S. uses military power we can destroy the current iteration of the Islamic State (IS), but that will not end the civil war. Neither Iran, Iraq, the U.S. nor the Russians will allow such a thing. Additionally, IS will be re-born under another sobriquet.

The political entente cannot be achieved because none of the players – including the U.S. – can impose its political will short of a decisive war. The problem is that the U.S. Department of State (DoS) cannot achieve a political consensus, and the CIA cannot achieve a military success.

Possibly, I have this reversed, and the DoS cannot achieve a military victory and the CIA does not have a political solution of any value. The CIA and the DoS have contradictory goals, and their efforts are cancelling one another out. Why did the U.S. support rebels when this war started? Lose/lose is a far piece from win/win.

Neither politics nor military action have produced any results in Libya, Syria or Iraq. Iran remains the wild card sitting in the catbird’s seat. Saudi Arabia is also outside of the military – political sphere of influence.

So, why did the U.S. get enmeshed in the Syrian Civil War to begin with? What will the U.S. gain by throwing its lot in with the rebels – any of them?

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Anonymous D. Vogt said...

Just found this blog and have been reading through it.

I want to thank you for providing solid, clearheaded thoughts on these subjects. It's refreshing to read this from someone with your background - I've been increasingly appalled by how frankly thoughtless both political leadership and media "commentary" seem on questions of foreign and defence policy. Syria is the perfect example of that; having declared both the Syrian regime and ISIL politically unacceptable, the West is resorting to further destabilizing the country so that... (and there the reasoning seems to end).

I can't help but think back to Japan or West Germany, where we took over a basically intact and functioning state and even then planned to put a heck of a lot more effort into building a democratic state than we seem to think it would involve now in turning a failed state into a stable one.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016 at 2:16:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

we welcome all readers willing to be reasonable.
you are welcome here.
It's obvious at this point that the US is not on the right sheet of music.
Not only are we playing with defective instruments, but we lack a conductor.
jim hruska

Wednesday, April 20, 2016 at 3:42:00 PM GMT-5  

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